Tech groups protest anti-China provision in US budget resolution

The amendment targeting Chinese-made IT products could harm the US government and vendors, the trade group say

A little-publicized provision in a U.S. government budget resolution that largely prohibits four agencies from using Chinese-made IT products could backfire, several tech trade groups said.

The provision, in a 2013 budget resolution signed by President Barack Obama on March 26, bars the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, NASA and the National Science Foundation from acquiring IT systems manufactured by companies owned or subsidized by the Chinese government.

The prohibition is limited, however, if the head of the agency, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or other federal cybersecurity experts, conduct a risk assessment of the IT product for "cyberespionage or sabotage," according to the language of the amendment to the budget resolution.

That amendment, added to the budget resolution with little fanfare, will "set a troubling and counterproductive precedent that could have significant international repercussions and put U.S.-based global IT companies at a competitive disadvantage in global markets," said a letter sent to congressional leaders Thursday by 11 trade groups, including BSA, TechAmerica, the Semiconductor Industry Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The budget amendment could impede the U.S. government from acquiring the "latest cutting-edge IT products," the letter said. The requirement to assess IT products will slow the federal acquisition process, it said.

In addition, the provision could lead the Chinese government to retaliate against U.S. IT vendors, and it could encourage "copycat" legislation in other countries that limits their governments' purchase of U.S. products, the letter said.

"Fundamentally, product security is a function of how a product is made, used, and maintained, not by whom or where it is made," the letter said. "Geographic-based restrictions run the risk of creating a false sense of security when it comes to advancing our national cybersecurity interests."

Several lawmakers have renewed their long-time concerns about China cyberespionage this year, after security vendor Mandiant in February pointed to a hacking group allegedly linked to the Chinese army.

The budget amendment originated in the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee of the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee, according to published reports. A spokeswoman for Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on the trade groups' letter.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentBarack ObamaNASAtradeBSAU.S. Department of JusticeU.S. Chamber of CommerceGovernment use of ITSemiconductor Industry AssociationU.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationU.S. House of RepresentativesU.S. National Science FoundationU.S. Department of CommerceTechAmericaMandiantFrank Wolf

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?